Elon Musk doesn't want to buy Twitter after all.
The billionaire SpaceX and Tesla CEO is backing out of his planned $44 billion purchase of Twitter, Reuters reported today (July 8), citing a filing by Musk's lawyers.
The filing claims that "Twitter had failed or refused to respond to multiple requests for information on fake or spam accounts on the platform, which is fundamental to the company's business performance," Reuters wrote (opens in new tab).
Related: 8 ways SpaceX has transformed spaceflight
In the deal, which was announced in April, Elon Musk committed to acquire the social media platform for $54.20 per share. But he soon tamped the brakes, saying that he wouldn't go through with the purchase until Twitter showed that bots — fake or spam accounts — make up less than 5% of its users.
Twitter apparently has not met that condition to Musk's liking.
"Twitter is in material breach of multiple provisions of that Agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr. Musk relied when entering into the Merger Agreement," the filing states, according to Reuters.
Twitter has its own views on the matter, of course. And they don't align with Musk's.
The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.July 8, 2022
"The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery," Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor tweeted this evening (opens in new tab).
The purchase deal stipulates that Musk must pay a $1 billion fee if he ends up backing out. But we shouldn't necessarily assume that the world's richest person will plunk that cash down without a fight.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).